professor
Emily Hayman

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Apr 2016

The best professor I've had at Columbia. Hands down. No questions asked. You are incredibly lucky if you get her for Lit Hum. She is brilliant, intelligent, and easy to work with outside of the classroom. She has written me recommendation letters, and we still maintain a relationship after class. She began every class with an overview of the history of the work we were reading at the time and maintained a class discussion quite well, even from 6:10-8 in a residence hall classroom. She made me stimulated to go to class, and brought cookies three times throughout the semester and Swedish Fish for the midterm and final. This is the most I've learned throughout my time at Columbia in my first semester of my first-year. Go into her outside of the classroom and any time that you can. You will learn so much from her if you put in the work and let her know that you are willing and able to create an outside of the classroom relationship. She is so deserving of her golden nugget.

May 2014

Emily Hayman is by far the best professor I have had all year, and possibly the best educator I have ever had including all pre-college teachers. She is brilliant, engaged, knowledgable, and interesting. She makes the class fun, and she cares deeply about her students. She's the kind of professor you whom you want to ask for a rec letter and also hang out with her at a bar. She makes a huge effort to help each student, focusing on writing, since she used to teach UWriting. So if you have/had a shitty UWriting class, Emily makes up for it tenfold.

May 2013

I'm just going to start off by saying you are incredibly lucky if you get Emily for LitHum. She really knows her stuff, and the way she facilitates a discussion every class is actually pretty impressive. Even though it was a 6:10-8pm class in a less than favorable classroom, I looked forward going to class, and it felt like it got progressively better. Her enthusiasm for literature in general (and Virginia Woolf in specific) really showed when she basically said every book was "the best book ever," except maybe History of the Peloponnesian War because ew. She's really funny, and even though we had a really strong class dynamic, Emily deserves credit for creating an open and welcoming environment. She actually tried to get us in the same CC section at our request because of how well we meshed. I'd say Emily is a very fair grader when it comes to essays. She does expect improvement like the previous reviewer, but her extensive feedback on each essay made me want to continue pushing myself, and to be honest, I found her feedback more helpful than my UW class. She was also fair in extending deadlines. Her midterms are straightforward, and if you pay attention to the passages she focuses on in class, you're gonna ace the test. She's perfectly cool with us bringing in meals to eat during class, and she brings cookies and candy to class on occasion, especially during midterms. At the end of each semester, she organizes a movie night right after class with pizza. We saw 300 the first time, and we actually didn't watch anything the second time because we all just decided to hang out, and she actually took some of us out to Haagen Daz which was really awesome and already made me miss going to her class by the time we all parted ways. In all, I'm really happy I got into Emily's section and got to meet all the incredible people in our little LitHum family. (btw, Emily was also in the running for best grad student-teacher at Columbia at the time that I wrote this review so you know she's good!)

Jan 2013

Emily was a great teach, i had her for Lit Hum. It was a 6:10-8 class so Emily knew we were all tired so she kept us involved and let you have a down day if you needed it. She also occasionally brought in food! She is a fair grader and really looks for improvement. I wish she would have let us have a break at some point during the hour and fifty minutes but overall it was a good experience.

May 2011

Emily was amazing! I had heard so many horror stories about uwriting, plus I had it from 6:10-7:25 so I was really dreading it. She made me excited to go to class however. She made what really could have been mind-numbingly boring activities hilarious and I learned something valuable from everything that we did. I really grew as a writer with her help, I learned more in one semester as her student than I did from my English teachers in high school. Whoever has the opportunity to get her as a teacher is very lucky and truly blessed!

May 2011

Emily is awesome. The thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and quality of her feedback on our written work by far surpasses anything else I've received back from other instructors (whether professors or TAs) at Columbia. Her constructive criticism is just that-- it accentuates the positive parts of your writing, while helping you construct a more cohesive argument out of your weak points. Your writing will definitely improve under her guidance, regardless of where you stand as a writer coming in to the class. Also, Emily is really good at facilitating a great classroom dynamic-- very laid-back, relaxed, friendly, and open. She is good at guiding discussion and keeping the whole class atmosphere positive. Assignments are generally useful to the class-- no random homework or extraneous drafts. Readings/prompts are also legitimately interesting and intellectually stimulating. Finally, Emily has an awesome sense of style. Basically, if you get Emily as your UWriting instructor, be happy, because you'll have a great time in class and improve exponentially as a writer while you're at it.

Dec 2009

Ms. Cersonsky is phenomenal. She has so many positive qualities and valuable teaching methods and is really quite enjoyable to be around. Ms. Cersonsky is very articulate and very intelligent and always made considerate and legitimately interesting comments. Her explanations were clear and straightforward and she introduced the material such that it became intriguing and fun to engage. In the classroom she made sure every student was comfortable and had the opportunity to participate. Regardless of if a student's answer was off-base or incorrect, she always found the "yes" or a correct aspect of what was said, such that everyone felt encouraged and heard. Her presentation of the material was interesting and engaging and our discussions were always both fun and open minded. She certainly did not impose her own read on the class and allowed for all opinions to be heard. Ms. Cersonsky made herself readily available to help us, not only through flexible office hours but also through quick responses to e-mail and meeting at other times. Her comments on my work were extensive and very helpful and she quickly identified what I also knew as the areas of my writing I needed to improve. She balanced every critique of my work with a compliment and she really pushed me to expand my limits and "go for the gold" in terms of complex writing. She is also funny, extremely well read and nice. In filling out the 1-5 check box for the class evaluation, I was sorely disappointed to see no box for #8- "very very very very excellent."

Nov 2009

Emily is awesome! I’m not even done with the course, and I have already seen my writing skills dramatically evolve. Coming from a science magnet high school, I was used to writing your standard five paragraph “I’m going to tell you X, Y, and Z...I just told you X, Y, and Z” essay. But here our essays are so much more dynamic. I remember this initially caused some problems for me because the first draft of my first essay needed some help in its organization. After working at it for a while with Emily’s help, I was able to pull-off a pretty impressive finished product. And this product only became better by the time I finished my second essay. Even after this essay, though, I still learned a lot about how to most effectively cite different sources. This is because Emily will always have some incisive comments to improve any essay, which makes it sad that I will only have her guidance on one more major essay. Yet in spite of the short duration of the class, I feel that I experienced a lot of growth as a writer and a fresh perspective on why I’m making the points I make when I make them. Because I’ve really enjoyed the class, I’ve found that it doesn’t even feel like work most of the time. Maybe it’s because I’m a science major, but I actually have come to find essays refreshing. And because I get to write about virtually any topic I want in UW, I genuinely love writing essays for this class. Sometimes I even see some parallels between Emily and I because she was a premed in college until she was inspired to pursue writing. Who knows where I’ll ultimately end up? Anyway, although not every worksheet for the class is thrilling, writing the essays is something to look forward to because you get to explore your thoughts and make connections between different sources. If you fully invest yourself in it, it won’t even feel like work. On that note, Emily never assigns pointless assignments. In general, we have the standard 3-essay routine, but we don’t waste our time on things that won’t help us develop our essays. Most of our class exercises are really great because we often work in groups and therefore receive perspectives on our essays from both her and our classmates. Which reminds me: Emily responds amazingly to feedback. After our first essay, she asked us to contribute feedback, and I expressed that I would like to know more about what all my classmates are writing about rather than the few I worked in depth with on the group assignments. Well, the very next week, we were going around and commenting on different aspects of seven other people’s ideas. It definitely gave our writing more of a purpose because so many other people were also invested and interested in what we were discussing. In fact, the whole atmosphere of the class is very lighthearted even though we somehow manage to get A LOT done in only an hour and fifteen minutes. Because Emily is still a graduate student maybe four years older than us, she can relate to us well and make everyone feel very comfortable while talking and participating in class discussions. Maybe I’ve grown a little too comfortable actually because lately the two kids who sit near me and I have become “troublemakers” who Emily has often found the need to separate when it comes to group work. It’s all in good fun though because we make fun of her ridiculous schedules (“Read the essay in 4 minutes, then comment on it in 6.2 minutes, then repeat that 10 times and we should be done 6 minute before class ends for a brief discussion”) just as much as she mocks our tendency to engage in long debates and tangential discussions. Anyway, I think I captured the overall nature of our incredible class. I basically decided to write this at the spur of the moment while talking before class today, so sorry if you find this review unorganized and hard to understand (it’s definitely one of the worst showcases of my writing abilities). My overall point is a simple one: if you have Emily for UWriting, be ecstatic! If not, change sections so that you can join the celebration. For those of you who read this in future years, Emily is excited to eventually teach Lit Hum, and I’m really jealous of whoever ends up with her. She loves all kinds of literature, especially Virginia Woolf, so I’m pretty sure that I’m going to have to sit in on her analysis of To the Lighthouse as an upperclassman.